20-year rise in young adults living with parents

The proportion of 20 to 34-year-olds in the UK living in the parental home increased by a third between 1998 and 2017.

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Almost one million more young adults are living with their parents today compared with the late 1990s.

The a two-decade squeeze on household formation is said to be largely due to housing pressures, a new Civitas paper reveals today.

The proportion of 20-to-34-year-olds in the UK living in the parental home increased by a third between 1998 and 2017 – from 2.4 million (19.48% of that age group) to 3.4 million (25.91%).

When population growth among that age group is considered, that is equivalent to an increase of 900,000.

The report also addressed how young adults who do move out of their parents’ home are ‘less likely’ to live on their own as they were two decades ago after a collapse in single living among younger age groups.

Civitas have penned these changes to help explain why average household sizes – which had been falling for most of the 20th century – plateaued in the 2000s and have even started rising in some places.

Lower-than-expected household formation has been at least in part an outcome of housing pressures, including high prices and rents relative to incomes, and a decline in social housing.

As further highlighted in the report, the proportion of households that are single-person has plateaued at about 30% in recent years, a stark contrast to most of northern and western Europe, where single living has been increasing rapidly – to more than 35% of all households in France and the Netherlands and more than 40% in Germany and Denmark.

However, the increase in results in adults failing to move out of their parents’ home is ‘indicative’ of the constraints imposed by housing costs and incomes.

This is further illustrated when regional differences in the UK are considered, with the growth recorded in London significantly higher (a 41% rise between 1996-8 and 2014-15) than that in the North East (17%) where average household costs are lowest.

Daniel Bentley, editorial director at the cross-party think tank Civitas, said: “An important consequence of the housing crisis that has gone largely unnoticed has been depressed household formation.

“As owner-occupation and social housing have each become more difficult to enter, hundreds of thousands of young adults have taken one look at the high rents in the private rented sector and decided to stay with their parents a bit longer instead.

“And those who have moved out have been much more inclined than in the 1990s to share, either with a partner or others.”

He added: “It is essential that in forecasting future housing needs the government does not use household formation patterns during this period as a guide because they reflect to a significant extent the outcomes of a dysfunctional housing market.

“Building new homes in line with household growth during this period would entrench the under-supply of housing for decades to come.”

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